As the holidays approach, so do cold weather conditions. Many business owners, especially those in retail, enjoy the holidays as the time where most profits are made thanks to holiday shoppers. In scenarios like this, owners aren’t worried about the weather. But as it starts to get cold in Texas, there are several things business owners should do to avoid high maintenance fees and even personal injurylawsuits. To legally protect your business during a cold front, keep an eye on the following:
Avoid having frozen pipes. While the science may not be the most important thing to business owners, when water freezes it expands and can cause the pipes in a building to burst. If this happens in your business, it could mean flooding, water damage, destroyed merchandise, slip and fall accidents, and costly repairs. It is recommended that indoor valves leading to outdoor hoses be closed and outdoor valves kept open in the event of a cold front, which will allow the pipes to drain. Pipes should be insulated, and you might have to get crafty with pipe sleeves and heat tape if your business is not already set up for these conditions. Additionally, run hot water through your pipes in the evening to keep them working properly.
Clear off snow around your businesses’ walkways. Slippery conditions due to ice may not directly be your fault, but if the injury occurs on your businesses’ property you could be footing the bill. If a slip and fall happens on your properly, it may be ascertained that you failed to maintain the premise in a safe manner that could be expected of a reasonable person. You do have reasonable time to correct these hazards, especially if there is a danger to you when clearing them up, but stay on top of the sidewalks and roads around your businesses and clean up any snow, ice, or extreme puddles that could be a danger. You are not expected to maintain the property during hours when you are clearly closed, so a youngster who trips in the middle of the night while trespassing on your property could probably not sue you.
Make sure you review safe driving practices with employees. For employers who provide company cars or ask employees to venture outside for business purposes, make sure you provide them with safe, reliable transportation. Review the rules of safe driving and provide employees with ice scrapers and other equipment. Emphasize how important it is to be safe, and that you would rather they be slightly late if it means avoiding an accident or taking caution. You could be held liable for injuries caused by an employee who drove negligently on your watch.
As you are preparing your business for the holiday season, take note of these tips. Business operations can be tricky, but don’t let the cold weather negatively impact your company. If you need assistance with your company or crafting safe policies as it becomes colder outside, call the Kyle Law Firm today so we can discuss strategies for your specific company.